Demonization of Nancy Pelosi Has Been Years in the Making

House speaker is a regular recipient of Republican rage in ads and on Capitol Hill
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
Demonization of Nancy Pelosi Has Been Years in the Making
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, arrive at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner in December 2019 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

Before the 2010 election marked by the tea party's ascent, the Republican National Committee reworked its website, changing the display to a "Fire Pelosi" theme that depicted the speaker of the House engulfed in flames. Such attacks have been regular parts of GOP campaigns ever since, before the arrival of Donald Trump, whether Pelosi was speaker or in the House minority, Politico reports. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said last year that if he's elected to Pelosi's post and assumes the speaker's gavel, "it will be hard not to hit" her with it. Before she was elected, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested executing Pelosi for treason, per the Washington Post.

The hatred now has been expressed in violence, with the attackers who stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, looking for Pelosi, breaking into her office while shouting for her, as the attacker who assaulted her husband, Paul, did Thursday night. One of the highest-ranking women in the federal government ever has become a main target of rage by much of the Republican Party, per the Post, reflected in attacks involving conspiracy theories and misogyny. The attack at her home didn't come out of nowhere, one Democratic colleague said. "Political violence is on the rise," said Rep. Eric Swalwell. "And instead of GOP leaders condemning it, they condone it with silence or, even worse, glorification."

Some top Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, did condemn the attack. And Greene was removed from House committees last year after liking a post calling for Pelosi's assassination. Republicans have been victims of violence and threats, as well. But any efforts to slow the vilification have their work cut out for them. "We have an entire right-wing machine dedicated to promoting conspiracy theories," said California state Sen. Scott Wiener, "to brainwashing people, and to directing their anger towards specific leaders including Nancy Pelosi." (Read more Nancy Pelosi stories.)

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